This year has forced more people online than ever before, with many employees working from home not knowing when they will return to their offices. This shift in work culture has brought about significant impacts on companies, forcing them to adapt in ways they hadn't imagined possible.
One of those ways is practicing safe cybersecurity habits. Hackers target small businesses to steal confidential information to use against the company or sell it to bidders. In fact, according to Verizon's 2020 Data Breach Investigations, 86% of breaches were financially motivated.
Keep reading this guide to learn the top ten cyber security tips to help keep your business and employees safe from potential attacks.
1. Stay up to Date
Routinely performing software updates is considered one of the most effective ways of protecting sensitive data. The notifications can get annoying. However, if you allow them to expire, you may be putting yourself and your company at risk.
Just by having outdated software, you are leaving your information vulnerable to attackers as they can expose security patches and other loopholes to steal data. It's recommended to set and allow for automatic system updates, as well as web browser updates, to close those patches.
2. Use Smart Password Techniques
Having to remember a bunch of passwords is just part of life nowadays. As much as everyone hates to admit it, passwords are the first line of defense when it comes to cybersecurity management. If you are going to have to remember passwords, you should at least make it worth your time.
A few smart password management tips include:
- Use 2 step login
- Don't use the same passwords twice
- Use a mix of numbers, letters, and symbols
If you're like most people and have a hard time remembering all these passwords, it might be best to consider using a password management tool. These types of resources can help generate strong, unique passwords and store them for you for later use.
3. Be Wary of Links
Phishing scams are some of the most common forms of cyberattacks. They involve being sent an email or text that will typically look like it's from a trustworthy source like a bank or even an executive. The hackers will usually try to trick the user into completing an action, like click a certain link by disguising it as something important.
Once the user clicks the link, hackers will steal information that the user inputs, including:
- Social security numbers
- Username & passwords
- Account information
Phishing attacks have increased by a whopping 350% since the start of the pandemic. Many times phishing scams look completely legitimate, making it essential to double-check who is sending you emails before clicking any links.
4. Prepare for the Worst
One of the worst things you can do when it comes to cybersecurity is assuming it can't or won't happen to you. Hackers are not selective and will go after anyone they think they can get something out of - mostly small and medium-sized businesses.
Hackers would love to go after the big corporations, but it takes a lot more planning, resources, effort and is considerably riskier than targeting small businesses. Having a plan for when things go wrong can make all the difference in resolving the issue.
5. Secure Your Connections
This is an important one that is often overlooked - make sure when you are connecting devices, it's over a private network. If you are connecting devices over public networks, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to attacks and are putting sensitive information at risk.
Every employee must understand this, one mistake can leave the entire company vulnerable to data breaches.
6. Utilize Security Software
For small businesses, an extra expense may sound crazy, but it can end up saving you a significant amount of money in the long run. Installing and utilizing antivirus software can help mitigate many of the attacks that companies would normally experience.
Hiring a dedicated IT service provider can help save you much needed time and resources, allowing you to focus on core business operations.
7. Train Employees
You have heard the saying, "you're only as strong as your weakest link," and this is especially true when it comes to internet security.
It's vital that your employees are on the same page about cybersecurity tactics, or else you are leaving the company open for attacks. Employees won't know what is acceptable and what isn't if you don't teach it to them. For example, if you allow your employees to take their laptops home, they might not know connecting to public wifi can leave company data vulnerable.
Holding workshops and training events can help inform employees of the best cybersecurity practices to ensure everyone is on the same page.
8. Back up Files
In the event an attack does happen, having a backup of your files can mitigate a lot of the headaches that come from trying to recover. Sometimes, hackers will try to encrypt data to hold it hostage and demand a ransom in return.
Also, when cyber attacks happen, many times, the only way to gain control of the computer is by erasing all the information, making it essential to have backups.
9. Limit Admin Acces
Limiting the number of people who have access to sensitive information can be an effective way of limiting your risk of cyber-attacks.
Eliminating past employees' access, as well as temporary contractors immediately after termination is a good place to start.
10. Lock Unattended Devices
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it happens more often than you would think. Employees and other individuals may come across an open laptop with sensitive information on the screen. It's best to get in the habit of locking your computer every time you leave to be safe.
Put These Cyber Security Tips Into Action
Protecting your company and employee's data is a full-time job. Between implementing new techniques and trying to get everyone on the same page, it can get overwhelming. Preventing cyberattacks requires extensive planning and execution. These cyber security tips will help you get started.
If you need help with your company's cybersecurity, contact us today, and we can help get you expert help.